TORONTO, Ont. — Toronto city planners say a $1.8 billion tunnel is what it will take to replace most of the downtown section of the Gardiner Expressway and revitalize the neglected waterfront.
The plan proposes new homes for 68,000 people, permanent jobs for about 35,000, 74 hectares of new parkland, and guaranteed public access to the water’s edge from Mississauga to Pickering. Titled “Making Waves,” chief city planner Paul Bedford’s proposal encountered huge swells from Mayor Mel Lastman.
Lastman, who has made no secret of his uneasiness about tearing down the expressway, blasted the plan for its lack of financial details.
“It would be nice to take it down. But I’m not going to pay that kind of money for a pretty picture,” he says. “Maybe the city will pay for it, maybe tolls, maybe additional parking fees would be the way to go but … I want to see a business plan. I want to see what’s best for the city,” he said.
According to the plan released by Bedford yesterday, there will be four public meetings on the plan next month. City staff will report back to the city’s planning and transportation committee in February and council will be asked to vote in March or April.
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